know that I have not and can neither read your message nor reply for a while. Here’s why [Trigger Warning]:
I’ve started to talk a little more about this in the last few years and I try to be transparent about it. I have a mood disorder. I have major clinical depression. I have anxiety disorder. I’m diagnosed. I’m being treated. I’m still not OK and may never be. This isn’t about VB, or my professional life, or what’s happening right now so don’t worry; this IS NOT “making it worse”. I’m NOT reacting in any particular way because I’m struggling with mental illness but regardless, I am still struggling.
[EDIT: This post has been edited since my initial publish due to some touching but perhaps unnecessary reactions. Please see new section below!]
It’s painful, stressful, and usually takes a tremendous amount of willpower for me to participate on social media under normal circumstances. If you follow my Twitter account, you’ll see that I don’t tweet very often. On a very good week it’s a few a day. Even my best, most well received blog post creates agonizing anxiety immediately after. Every time you see me write a bunch in a burst and then disappear for weeks or months it’s likely because I’m going through some form of depressive episode and can barely find the strength to get out of bed. I’ll tell you more about this sometime.
There’s so much toxicity in the world. And toxicity in general from programmers. Toxicity from non-VB programmers. Toxicity from C# programmers specifically. Toxicity from some VB (6 & .NET) developers. And just plain second-hand stress from VB developers who, while not necessarily toxic, are rightfully venting frustration, despair, and anger. I get it and I am so honored and flattered that VB community members trust me enough that they still feel I’m the person to come to when they’ve got concerns but sometimes it’s a lot for me to absorb.
So, I’m aggressively guarding my emotional state right now.
If you’re trying to say something positive, commiserative, or supportive: Thank You! I swear it means the world to me to hear from you! It helps me stay positive and connected to the world.
If you’re trying to say something awful or insensitive to me right now, please don’t. Consider just not saying anything at all right now, anywhere. And if you absolutely can’t hold back then leave that type of commentary on the .NET blog so they can see what type of person celebrates their choices.
If you’re upset about this, I get it; me too! But know that I’m not the one who needs to hear that. Make sure you’re sharing that feedback however you feel it directly to Microsoft and its representatives.
I promise I’ll read all your comments, messages, and tweets in a little bit (days). I just can’t risk reading the wrong thing from the wrong person right now when I need to keep my energy and focus on speaking up and speaking out.
[EDIT: It has come to my attention that some readers may have read this as me saying that right NOW is one of those times that I can barely get out of bed. It is NOT. I’m up and about. August-October was very rough but I’ve been slowly rebuilding to a better place for the last few months (I’m cleaning my apartment again!). I just meant that in general, this is a thing to be aware of and that even when I’m feeling “better”, I still have to be very intentional about when and how I engage to avoid emotional disruptions that won’t last months or weeks but can still last hours or days.
I hesitate to use the phrases “I’m OK” or “I’m fine” because I’m so used to saying them and realize now that they set certain incorrect expectations. It’s akin to a diabetic who’s taking insulin saying “I’m not diabetic anymore”. No, you’re still diabetic, you still have to treat your body in a certain way, you still may not be able to do some things, you’re just not slipping into a coma currently. I’m not “OK” like “back to normal”; I’m not “normal”. But I’m also not in free fall or backsliding right now.
Thanks to my friends and loved ones for reaching out! Don’t be alarmed.]